Norwalk’s First Community Forum | Greenhouse brands

Samuel Chako

Council member Margita Rios and city manager Jesus Gomez smile after jokes were made during the meeting.

Norwalk held its first Community forum of the year on March 31 with the option to attend in person at Paddison Elementary School or Zoom.

Participants attending in person were allowed to ask questions when they could and those attending via Zoom were encouraged to voice their opinions when prompted.

This is an image of City Manager Jesus Gomez, Councilwoman Margarita Rios and Mayor Rick Ramirez taking the Pledge of Allegiance.  This was before the start of the presentations and took place on March 31.
A pledge to the American flag at the start of the community forum was led by City Manager Jesus Gomez, Council Member Margarita Rios and Norwalk Mayor Rick Ramirez. Photo credit: Samuel Chacko

The first presentation kicking off the meeting was on public safety where Denis Katothe Acting Director of Public Safety, discussed the problems and solutions surrounding the issues.

The traffic index has positively increased from 49.3 to 22.3, as a higher number would be better.

However, two deaths of which two were killed by a DUI and a red light runnercaused an increase in impaired driving crashes and citations in 2022.

According to Kato, their solution to problems with DUI drivers is to roll out increased DUI saturation patrols, move a school officer into the evenings to work on DUI enforcement (starting next month), and add more points of DUI control.

Another solution suggested was considering having Control of alcoholic beverages monitoring bars in the city to ensure that local facilities follow the rules; clearing the alleys and refraining from serving customers already under the influence, to name a few.

The next keynote presentation was moderated by Daniela Ojeda, Government Affairs Manager at Athens Services, who spoke about the SB 1383 law came into force on January 1 of this year.

“From now on, all businesses and residents must recycle leftover green waste,” Ojeda said, “the purpose of this law is to reduce methane emissions.”

Instead of normally throwing food scraps and leftovers into black barrels, they now have to be thrown into the green barrel.

This image is from the presentation regarding SB 1383 which explains what is organic waste and what is not organic waste.  Acceptable organic waste should go in the green barrel and non-acceptable waste in the black barrel.
Excerpt from the presentation concerning the SB 1383 law which explains what is organic waste and what is not. Acceptable organic waste should go in the green barrel and non-acceptable waste in the black barrel. Photo credit: Samuel Chacko

The city provides additional information to better explain the bill on its website, with infographic showing what to put in which barrel.

Clear plastic trash bags are allowed, but other options are suggested, such as disposing of organic waste without a bag, using tin cans to dispose of waste, using paper bags, and freezing waste (s they smell bad).

The second part of the new law is food recovery, or food donation, which is more of a corporate responsibility.

Ojeda explained that larger supermarkets would be required to donate food.

This is an image of SB 1383 where there was the powerpoint shown on March 31.  This shows the two different levels for large companies, which refers to the second part of Law 1383, food recovery.
A summary of SB 1383 showing the two different tiers for large corporations, which refers to the second part of 1383, food recovery. Photo credit: Samuel Chacko

Questions and concerns from the community included the curbside spill, the closure of Food 4 Less and Walmart in the city, traffic (high speed cars and running stop signs) around the greenbelt and long wait times for police (in response to crime).

By drawing conclusions to address citizens’ concerns, John Ramirez, Director of Community Developmentsaid there has been a 500% increase in food shopping online over the past 8-10 years.

In terms of public safety, officials say they will work on shorter wait times in the coming months for officers to respond to crime as well as implementing traffic light sequences to better regulate traffic. speeding tickets, DUI tickets and more.

Melvin B. Baillie